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Passing on a legacy of green-thumbs by Kate Dyer-Seeley

When I was growing up my grandparents owned a half an acre in the city where my grandfather spent nearly every waking hour cultivating his urban farm. This was long before the slow food movement or farm-to-table dinners that have become so popular in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the country. I remember spending many summer afternoons running through rows and rows of corn and stopping to pick cherry tomatoes straight from the vine. Strawberry season came in June which meant hand-churned strawberry ice cream and the sweetest, juiciest berries that would stain my lips pink.

My grandfather always smelled like the earth. He encouraged me (along with my siblings and cousins) to dig in the dirt and get my hands muddy. Family gatherings at my grandparents’ house involved everyone pitching in to yield the latest crop. From cucumbers the size of my head to deep red raspberries everything that he touched grew in abundance. As a kid, I was convinced that my grandfather had a special gift—a true green thumb.

Continue reading “Passing on a legacy of green-thumbs by Kate Dyer-Seeley”


Making traditions – Mom’s Bunny Cake by Lynn Cahoon

WHO MOVED MY GOAT CHEESE which releases March 6th is the first of the FARM-TO -FORK mysteries set in River Vista, Idaho. Now, before you go and google the town, I’ll tell you right now, it’s a mishmash of a lot of different places around the area where I grew up.

The memories are all there, but the roads Angie drives to get to River Vista to her new restaurant, The County Seat, may be called something else.

As she drives, she goes right past the little farm house where I was born. My mom was the glue that held everything, and everyone together. She lost the love of her life a year after I was born. And she went from farm wife, to widow at thirty-five.

She eventually remarried and we moved to a farm house just a few miles away from the place I was born. And she became a farm wife again.

we had at the big wooden table that was often too small to hold all of the relatives who came for Sunday dinner.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn (we’d frozen that summer), and always dessert.

One year, my mom found this recipe in one of her magazines. It was on Mom’s Easter table ever since. And now, that she’s gone, my sisters have taken up the baking of Mom’s Bunny Cake.

I got my love of food from my mother. In the FARM TO FORK books, Angie finds that same love of food passed down from her Nona. Angie’s recipes at the County Seat are definitely fancier than my own creations or to be honest, my mom’s. But we have one thing in common. We share a love for the food.

This recipe is none of that. You can make the cake from a recipe, it’s up to you. Boxed mix works just find. It’s a fun memory that I wanted to share with you.

Mom’s Bunny Cake.

1 box of yellow cake mix. (I like chocolate, but then you have to use chocolate frosting.)

Prepare to the package directions and bake in round pans.

Once it’s done and cooled out of the pan, put it on an aluminum foil covered piece of cardboard. This is your design pad. (Yes, we’re going fancy here.)

One of the rounds will be his face. Place that near the bottom third of your design pad. Take the other round and cut a bow out of the middle by cutting ears off the top and bottom using a half circle. Place the bow and the ears on your design pad.

Now comes the fun part. We’re going to cover it with white frosting from a can. Make sure you cover all the joints and edges so the cake doesn’t show.

Once the bunny has frosting, sprinkle coconut for bunny fur. You can take about ½ cup of coconut and dye it pink with food coloring.

Cut black licorice for the eyelashes, mouth, and whiskers. You’ll need jelly beans for the eyes, nose, and bow.



Angie Turner hopes her new farm-to-table restaurant can be a fresh start in her old hometown in rural Idaho. But when a goat dairy farmer is murdered, Angie must turn the tables on a bleating black sheep . . .

With three weeks until opening night for their restaurant, the County Seat, Angie and her best friend and business partner Felicia are scrambling to line up local vendors—from the farmer’s market to the goat dairy farm of Old Man Moss. Fortunately, the cantankerous Moss takes a shine to Angie, as does his kid goat Precious. So when Angie hears the bloodcurdling news of foul play at the dairy farm, she jumps in to mind the man’s livestock and help solve the murder. One thing’s for sure, there’s no whey Angie’s going to let some killer get her goat . . .

Praise for Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap Mysteries

“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” —Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries

“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.” —Fresh Fiction

Lea Wait – National Crafting Month

Inspirational Women of Deerfield

In my Mainely Needlepoint mystery series my protagonist, Angie Curtis, runs a business in which a group of needlepointers (men and women) in a small Maine harbor town do custom needlepoint for gift shops, decorators, and individual customers, and do their best to identify and restore antique needlepoint.

A unique concept? Perhaps today. But from 1896 until 1926 women in Deerfield, Massachusetts, also banded together under the leadership of Margaret Whiting and Ellen Miller, to revive needlecraft skills lost since colonial days, and literally created a cottage industry.

Studying patterns from the past, ordering linen thread from Scotland and fabric woven by students at Berea College in Kentucky, they trained women (most years twenty to thirty women were in the group,) checked each piece assigned and completed to ensure high quality, and sold the resulting needlework (at first only in three or four shades of blue on white linen) at an annual exhibition and sale. Tablecloths, napkins, doilies, place-mats were decorated with simple, graceful, subjects from nature: strawberries, thistle, clovers, birds, bees, and berries.

People ordered work from the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework in advance, happy to pay the high prices they charged. Today their work is in textile and regional museums. If you find a piece of embroidery from the early twentieth century, look for a “D” inside a circular wheel, and, if you find it, know you have a sample of work by the industrious women of Deerfield.

Continue reading “Lea Wait – National Crafting Month”

How to Make a Folding Book by Kirsten Weiss

I love books, and I’m guessing you do too. (I also like pie a lot, but that’s neither here nor there).

So, in addition to writing cozy mystery novels, I’ve learned a simple “bookbinding” technique that anyone with a single sheet of paper can use. There’s no actual binding in this book – just lots of clever folds and a single, short cut.

To make this, you’ll need a sheet of paper, scissors. A spoon or bone knife are optional.

1. Take your sheet of paper and fold it in half, lengthwise. Note: start from the center of the paper for a more even fold. Use a bone knife or the back of a spoon to get a nice sharp edge.

2. Unfold the paper and fold it in half again, this time widthwise, using the same center and spoon technique. Keeping the paper folded, fold it in half one more time. Continue reading “How to Make a Folding Book by Kirsten Weiss”

Glass Coaster Etching by Cheryl Hollon


“Hollon clearly knows . . . how to craft a good mystery.” —Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

“Will keep you guessing to the end!” —Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author

“A kaleidoscope of perfection, with a feisty heroine, exquisite plot and master storytelling.” —Liz Mugavero, author of the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries

Blog post by Sarah Graves

As many of you already know, the Jake & Ellie “Death by Chocolate” mysteries – including the first in the new series, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE – are set in the real-life town of Eastport, Maine. That’s where my husband and I moved from Connecticut twenty years ago, and it’s where we’ve stayed – partly because we’ve gotten so busy here, but mostly because it’s just too beautiful to leave. So of course, the place found its way into my work: sometimes into the fiction, other times into the actual physical work of writing, as well.

Two years ago, for instance, we bought an old motorboat. Nothing fancy, but it had a tiny cabin where a writer could hide away, and as a bonus the boat’s battery ran my laptop! So now I spend summer afternoons at a picturesque dock, and if I get any interruptions they’re from birds and an occasional curious seal.

Another great thing about writing in Eastport is that there is so much to do and see! And every bit of it is not only fun in the moment when it’s happening, it also serves as material for the book-in-progress. After all, if I think it’s lovely, funny, scary or just plain weird, Jake and Ellie – and readers, I hope – probably will, too.  Continue reading “Blog post by Sarah Graves”

Enter to WIN!


Hey everyone…this is Jo:

I’m so excited to share Hannah’s next mystery.  It’s Raspberry Danish Murder, and I’ve been in a baking frenzy to finish it for you.  In honor of the upcoming release, my publisher sent me a gorgeous raspberry pink Kitchen-Aid mixer to match the book.  I’ve been having so much fun making the recipes from the book, including:  Raspberry Danishes, Cherry Chocolate Bar Cookies, Upside Down Pear Coffee Cake, and Chocolate Butterscotch Crunch Cookies, that I wanted one special Hannah fan to get a mixer to match mine.  I twisted my publisher’s arm, and they finally agreed to get one lucky winner one that matched mine.

Now how will we find that one Hannah super fan who will win the raspberry mixer?

I know!  We’ll have a pre-order sweepstakes campaign.  All you have to do is pre-order Raspberry Danish Murder and register your pre-order in the form to be entered.

All the details to enter are below.   Good luck!  I hope you win!  Do be sure to send me pictures of the delicious recipes you’ve made in your new raspberry mixer.

Love you guys.



Readers who pre-order Raspberry Danish Murder before 2/27 are entered into this contest.

* 5 runner up winners receive free copy of Banana Cream Pie Murder (2/18mm) or a copy of Christmas Cake Murder (hardcover 10/18)

* Grand Prize Winner receives this raspberry Kitchen Aid





Happy Anniversary, Dorothy!

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of my first novel.  It was an historical romance published by Kensington.

The novel was  titled Defiant Enchantress.  I wrote it with a pencil on notebook paper, then typed it on a typewriter while juggling a full time job and raising children—usually alone, since my husband was in the military and gone most of the time. I went on to sell more historical romances, most under my pen name Judith Stacy.  I returned to Kensington with the Haley Randolph cozy mystery series.

A look at my 42 year career:

–I wrote my first book with absolutely no training.  I’d never been to a writing class, conference, or workshop.  I didn’t know they existed. I knew nothing about the publishing industry.  I was working full time at a demanding job, had two young children, and a husband in the military who was gone most of the time.

–This was the pre-internet, pre-computer days.  I did my research in the library.  I wrote with a pencil on notebook paper, then typed the manuscript on a typewriter.

–After nine disheartening rejections, my book sold to Kensington.  It was a historical romance the editor titled Defiant Enchantress.  Due to a printing error, another author’s name appeared on the front cover.  I was dismayed but not discouraged.  I decided that book would someday become a collector’s item.

–Kensington rejected my next manuscript.  So did every other editor and agent I submitted it to. Continue reading “Happy Anniversary, Dorothy!”

Easy Centerpieces by Lena Gregory

When Gia Morelli flees New York City and escapes to the outskirts of Central Florida’s Ocala National Forest, she uses the last of her savings to buy a small house and open the All-Day Breakfast Café. Her best friend, Savannah Mills, helps her set up and decorate the café. Before Gia arrives, Savannah makes blue and white gingham curtains, dark blue tablecloths, and cushions with zipper covers for the light-colored wood chairs. She also adds a few strategically placed paintings of local scenery and hangs a hand painted, wooden open/closed sign in the front window. Savannah does an amazing job creating the comfortable feeling of home Gia was striving for.

Unfortunately, Gia doesn’t share Savannah’s creative talents. She’s also out of money, so when it comes time to make centerpieces, she has to come up with something cozy but inexpensive. With very little time left, Gia decides on an easy, inexpensive idea that anyone can make, even her.

Gia loves the beach. Although she hasn’t had much free time since arriving in Florida, she does manage to sneak away for a little while, and when she does, she heads straight for the ocean. She walks along the beach with a bucket in hand, collecting anything she finds that catches her interest; beach glass, seashells, small rocks, twigs, beach grass, driftwood, even a length of old fishing net. After that, she strolls through town and hits up the antique shops, and even the dollar stores, and picks out a variety of glass containers, mason jars, and small candles.

When she gets back to the café, she sifts through all of the interesting things she found on the beach and sorts them into jars. Some jars get candles in the center—of course, she’s careful not to put anything flammable in those. Others get beach grass or twigs sticking out the top. If the jars have no fun decorations on them, she ties a ribbon or a leather cord around them.

When she’s done, she sets a jar in the center of each table, then she creates a setting on the counter behind the register. She spreads a small bit of fishing net on the counter and arranges the jars among pieces of driftwood. With the lights dimmed and the candles lit, her customers can enjoy an intimate setting with their meals.

Continue reading “Easy Centerpieces by Lena Gregory”

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